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Johnson helps Lightning even series with Red Wings

by Corey Long

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos sent a message early and Tyler Johnson made sure it didn’t fall on deaf ears.

Johnson scored two goals to give Tampa Bay a 5-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

Valtteri Filppula, Andrej Sustr and Alex Killorn scored for the Lightning, who tied the best-of-7 series 1-1. Game 3 is Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA, SN, FS-F, FS-D).

Stamkos was in the penalty box when Johnson scored his first goal at 3:05 of the first period to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead. Stamkos and Lightning forward Brian Boyle got into a scrum with Red Wings defensemen Danny DeKeyser and Kyle Quincey that ended with Stamkos holding Quincey in a headlock.

Quincey received a double minor to give the Lightning a power play, and Johnson capitalized by scoring with a put-back over the shoulder of Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek after Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov hit the post with a slap shot from the point.

"I’m 2-for-2 on these situations … I get into a little scrum and we score a goal," Stamkos said. "It was a good view of the goal from the box. Brian and I were in there for a while too, he started telling knock-knock jokes. But we were just sticking up for each other and we’ve done that all year."

Johnson’s second goal came at 19:22 of the second to give the Lightning a 4-0 lead; he scored on Mrazek on a breakaway. Mrazek, who made 44 saves in the Red Wings’ 3-2 win in Game 1, was pulled for Jimmy Howard after the period.

"We knew we had to step up our [game] and we did, it’s nice to be able to contribute," Johnson said. "It was a physical game. We were frustrated we didn’t win Game 1 and I thought the guys came out with that spirit right away. Our mentality is to get better with every game."

Mrazek allowed four goals on 18 shots and Howard made 11 saves in relief. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Mrazek will start Game 3.

"I think Petr played good, we have to give him a chance," Babcock said. "We didn’t make a lot of mistakes, but when we did, they capitalized, and you can’t expect your goalie to make all those saves. So it’s a five-game series now and we’ll focus on Game 3."

Tampa Bay outshot Detroit by six (30-24) after outshooting the Red Wings’ by 32 in Game 1. But the Lightning did a better job of controlling rebounds and frustrating Mrazek in Game 2.

Killorn’s goal at 7:56 of the second period came off a rebound while he was fighting off Detroit forward Tomas Tatar in front of the net. He finally jammed the puck past Mrazek as Tatar put him on the ice to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead.

Filppula, who gave the Lightning a 5-1 lead with a goal at 15:26 of the third, scored off a rebound of his initial shot. Filppula had an assist on Sustr’s goal at 14:48 of the second period when he fought off a check by Red Wings forward Tomas Jurco and found Sustr steaking to the slot for the one-touch goal.

It was Sustr’s first goal of the season.

"It was nice to get him a goal," Filppula said. "He’s worked very hard this season and I don’t think their defense really saw him, so it was an easy pass for me to make. We got a couple of power-play goals and I think there was a little more intensity today. I see things getting tougher as we go forward."

Tatar scored for Detroit at 5:49 of the third period when a slap shot from Quincey looked like it hit Red Wings center Riley Sheahan’s stick and the puck ended up with Tatar, who tipped it past Lightning goalie Ben Bishop.

"They got the goals," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "If you actually look at the game compared to the first game, we had a lot more chances today. We played a lot better but the mistakes really did cost us because they scored on them."

Bishop made 23 saves. Stamkos and Nesterov each had two assists.

"If you look at this game, it wasn’t really a 5-1 game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It felt much closer than that and I thought they played a lot better and gave it to us a lot more than in Game 1. It’s definitely a series now and these are going to be tight games."

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